There has been some fantastic material written for the Trinity London drum kit examination syllabus over the last couple of years by a number of my favourite UK musicians, including session drummer Ralph Salmins. One of the highlights being Ralph’s exciting “Brazil Overture” written for Grade 8. Anyone who has played a show will know the overture—the opening medley of feature songs—can be a frightening piece to perform, shifting through styles and tempos at an alarming rate.
So it’s no surprise “Brazil Overture” provides a challenge for the student drummer, with big ensemble sections in odd time signatures, quick time shifting grooves, a tricky “Purdie Shuffle”, delicate brush work, fast tempo swing and a Samba solo section all crammed into under 3 minutes of ferocious drumming.
SLASH NOTATION: WHERE TO START?
With much of the chart written using slash notation it can be tricky to know what to play if any of the styles are new to you, so for this notebook I have transcribed all of Ralph’s fills, comping and solo work to give you an in-depth look at how he approaches the chart. Hopefully this will provide you with some new vocabulary as inspiration for you to come up with your own ideas as well.
EXAMPLES OF RALPH'S PLAYING
If you live in the UK there's no doubt you will have heard Ralph’s drumming without even realising, from his countless TV, radio and movie soundtrack work—not to mention his live performances on the West End and with artists such as Robbie Williams, Van Morrisson, and The Waterboys to name just a few. This is a man with serious credentials. So it’s a great opportunity to look closely at his drumming and what makes him so in demand.